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Entrepreneurial Center Success Stories

We are happy to share stories of EC graduates who have successfully launched or expanded their businesses and followed their visions!

Vivian Akuoko - Evay Cosmetics LLC

It's widely accepted that the definition of an entrepreneur is "one who creates and or operates a business or businesses, and is responsible for greater than normal financial risk". Hopefully the person enjoys the rewards. To succeed, especially in today's economy, you have to have the stomach for it; intestinal fortitude, vision, perseverance, and a champion's spirit. Vivian Akuoko has all of that, and then some. [Full story here]

Shirley Bloethe - Jitters Coffee House

Shirley Bloethe always knew she wanted to work for herself, just as her parents had done for 42 years with their New Britain restaurant; she took the first step with a self-employment assessment. [Full story here]

Susan Nolte—May Cookie Company

An EC graduate who was recently profiled in the Hartford Business Journal is Susan Nolte, who founded the May Cookie Co., which makes upscale, health-conscious cookie mixes. Nolte's first order two years ago was for about 900 mixes. [Full story here]

Dotti Cannon—Brown Sugar Catering

Dotti is the owner and head chef of Brown Sugar Catering, LLC, based in Manchester, Conn. Opening a catering business was a natural progression for Dotti—she grew up cooking, then went to culinary school when her previous job was eliminated. [Full story here]

Sue Okie—Horses and Hounds

Hartford Business Journal recently profiled one business, Horses and Hounds, a 12,000-square-foot animal feed and supply store whose tagline is "Every need for every breed," and whose sales each year since 2006 have topped $1million.[Full Story here]

Deb Marsden—Connecticut Farm Fresh Express

"When I started this, I just knew that this was a service that I was looking for," says Marsden, who was a graphic designer at the time. While not a die-hard foodie, she always had sought out fresh and organic products. "I thought, if I'm looking for it, then other people are probably looking for it." Read the rest of Marsden's story in The Hartford Courant.

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